Chapter 23

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Ananda shut the door and refastened the security chain.  Cameron could now see, though the upper chain was as any he had seen before, the ends of the heavy bottom chain were permanently anchored into the floor to insure no one was able to get through the door while the chain was fastened.  The length of the chain was threaded through three thick eyebolts screwed into the bottom of the door, fastening the door to the apartment.  If the hinges were ever broken, the door would still be chained to the floor.  Ananda pulled the slack of the chain tight and slipped a thick padlock through the doubled up links.  The door could not be opened without unlocking the padlock.  Ananda turned the key in the padlock, then removed and slipped the key into his pocket when he stood.  Ananda then turned back to his three visitors and smiled.  “Are you hungry?  Would you like some tea?” asked Ananda, adding quickly before any had a chance to reply, “I only have tea here, but I can call downstairs for anything you like.”

“Merci, that is very generous,” said Marie.  “We ate.”

“But of course you did,” said Ananda, “I understand the food at the tower is very good.”  He winked at Nicole and she smiled in return.  “Probably just as well that we do not dawdle.”  His eyes focused on something in front of them that could not be seen.  “She has been asking for you.  It is not long now,” Ananda hung his head for a short moment.  When Ananda lifted his head again his pleasant demeanor returned.  “But that is why you have been sent for.”  Nicole offered her arms to the old grandfather, “No,” said Ananda, “I may no longer feel the touch of a woman.”  He closed his eyes tightly, “I feel your compassion though.”

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